AIDS: Circumcision campaign lifted by new evidence
Publish Date: Jul 21, 2014
AIDS: Circumcision campaign lifted by new evidence
A man undergoing circumcision
  • mail
  • img

MELBOURNE - A campaign to encourage circumcision among men in sub-Saharan Africa to help protect them against the AIDS virus was backed by new research on Monday showing that men who have had the operation are unlikely to engage in unprotected sex.

Three major trials have previously shown that, for heterosexual men, male circumcision reduces the risk of contracting HIV by as much as 60 percent -- a finding that has prompted the UN's World Health Organization (WHO) to recommend it as a voluntary prevention option, to be used along with the condom.

But some experts have warned that circumcised men, believing themselves to be shielded, are likely to become more promiscuous after the operation, and less likely to wear a condom.

The new study, coinciding with the 20th International AIDS Conference in Melbourne, took a long look at this argument yet found no evidence to support it.

University of Illinois at Chicago researchers questioned more than 3,000 men aged 18-35 in Kenya's Nyanza province who had just been briefed about the option of circumcision and advised on safe sex and testing for HIV.

At the start of the study, half of those enrolled decided to be circumcised, while the others chose to remain uncircumcised. They were asked about their sex life, with followup questions every six months over the following two years.

During this period, sexual activity increased in both groups, especially among those aged 18-24, the investigators found.

But risky sex -- such as having multiple partners or having intercourse in exchange for providing money or gifts -- declined, while use of condoms rose.

Just as revealing was self-perception

Men who were circumcised often believed they had lessened their risk of acquiring HIV. Thirty percent considered themselves high-risk before circumcision, while just 14 percent considered themselves so after.

Among those who decided not to be circumcised, 24 percent considered themselves high-risk at the study's start, and 21 percent still did at the end.

But the different perceptions did not translate into different behaviour, sex-wise.

"Countries that have been holding back on implementing medical circumcision programs due to a lack of evidence regarding risk compensation should have no concerns about scaling-up programs," said lead scientist Nelli Westercamp in a press release issued by the university.

The research appears online in a specialist journal, AIDS and Behavior.


Also related to this story

HIV battle: Uganda tests out rubber band circumcision

Man loses penis in medical circumcision

Circumcision: ‘My experience’

Shortage of circumcision tools amid high demand

Circumcision improves sex, women confess

The statements, comments, or opinions expressed through the use of New Vision Online are those of their respective authors, who are solely responsible for them, and do not necessarily represent the views held by the staff and management of New Vision Online.

New Vision Online reserves the right to moderate, publish or delete a post without warning or consultation with the author.Find out why we moderate comments. For any questions please contact

  • mail
  • img
blog comments powered by Disqus
Also In This Section
Odoi to stand as Independent after court dismisses case
West Budama North Member of Parliament, Fox Oywelowo Odoi is set to stand as an Independent candidate in the forthcoming elections after court dismissed his application for a temporary injunction stopping NRM from ousting him as its flag bearer...
Mulindwa Muwonge mayoral election process petition trashed
The Constitutional Court has thrown out a petition in which a city resident, Mulindwa Muwonge, had sought to stop the process of electing the Lord Mayor, divisional mayors and councilors, saying that it was incurably defective and could not stand...
Two dead, 15 injured in bus accident
A driver and a passenger of a northern Uganda bound Isuzu coach died in Luweero town when their vehicle collided with another bus that was speeding in the opposite direction, Tuesday afternoon...
EC issues fresh nomination guidelines
The Electoral Commission on Tuesday issued fresh guidelines governing the process of the nomination of Members of Parliament (MP) that starts tomorrow...
Ghetto Kids mourn Ssempijja
Alex Ssempijja, 14, who garnered global fame after starring in musician Eddie Kenzo’s famous Sitya Loss video, on Monday, succumbed to injuries sustained in a bicycle accident...
Brig Okiring to head UPDF troops in Somalia
BRIGADIER Sam Okiring was on Tuesday unveiled as the new contingent commander of Ugandan peacekeeping troops serving as part of AMISOM...
Do you think Uganda is winning the fight against AIDS?
Can't Say
follow us
subscribe to our news letter